Cairo: In an area roiled by devastating conflicts and economic decline, the UAE stands out as an epitome of stability and economic success. The country boasts a regional clout that it has unfailingly wielded to push for peace and prosperity.
Such credentials have constantly made the UAE the target of smear campaigns by those who resent the country’s growing influential role. Such campaigns have become more ferocious since the UAE along with other three Arab countries boycotted Qatar due to its support for militancy more than three years ago. Qatari propaganda mouthpieces in Doha or beyond have recently circulated ill-sourced and unsubstantiated allegations about the UAE and its leaders in glaring attempts to compromise them in the public eye.
A case in point is a recent report run by the AFP, alleging that French authorities are investigating claims of alleged torture in Yemen blaming His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
The report largely cites unnamed sources alleging UAE-controlled detention centres in war-wracked Yemen. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Earlier this year, the UAE announced withdrawing its troops from Yemen where Abu Dhabi was a partner to a Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting Iran-allied rebels Al Houthis since 2015.
Another fact is that the UAE has vehemently backed all efforts launched to craft a peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen. By choosing to ignore these and other facts, the ultimate aim is glaringly to sully the UAE’s reputation mainly in the West.
The campaign is believed to be instigated by the Muslim Brotherhood that is banned in the UAE, but sponsored by Qatar. Sheikh Mohammed is seen as a staunch opponent of the Islamist group outlawed in several Arab countries.
“In fact, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed and the UAE present a different and successful model of stability, prosperity and tolerance,” UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash said months ago, commenting on such campaigns. The minister’s argument is still valid and hits the nail on the head.
With Qatar increasingly feeling the diplomatic and economic impact of the Arab boycott, the tiny emirate continues to squander its riches on terror proxies to fuel regional turmoil and on its propaganda arms to whitewash its tattered image.
In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut off diplomatic and transportation links with Qatar over its support for extremist groups.
The four countries have repeatedly demanded Doha to comply with a set of conditions to end the standoff. The demands include Qatar’s severance of links with militant and terror groups, scaling down ties with Iran and shutting down Al Jazeera TV, seen as a mouthpiece of the banned Muslim Brotherhood.
Qatar has refused the conditions, saying they violate its sovereignty.